Lorenz’s switch score for soccer

first_imgGREG DIXON/Herald photoAt this time last year, Scott Lorenz’s job was to prevent goals, not score them. As the left back for the UW men’s soccer team, Lorenz found far more opportunities to block shots than to take them.Fast forward to 2008, and Lorenz, a junior, leads the team with 21 points off of nine goals and three assists after tallying only five points last year. There’s a reason for the dramatic increase.“He’s playing forward instead of defender,” head coach Jeff Rohrman said. “We saw signs of what he could do last spring as a forward. It’s not a position he’s completely unfamiliar with.”“Not unfamiliar with” is a bit modest. Lorenz was an All-State forward at Barrington High School in Illinois, scoring 19 goals his senior year. Upon arriving at UW, he was asked to step in and fill a hole the team had on defense, and in Rohrman’s words, “adjusted well.” When the team’s need shifted back to offense, the coaching staff let Lorenz slide back to his natural position. And the readjustment hasn’t been an issue, as evidenced by his performance on the field.“It’s nice. It kind of gets me back to what I’m used to doing,” Lorenz said. “It’s pretty much like riding a bicycle. It just comes back to you.”During the spring offseason, Lorenz was called on to see if he could bring a scoring touch to the offense. He’s responded by leading the team not only in goals, but also in shots and minutes played. Thirty-three of his 57 shots have been on goal, a .579 clip that leads the team among players with at least five shots. To Lorenz, the motivation to take quality shots is simple.“You can’t score if your shots aren’t on target,” Lorenz said. “Sometimes you have to take a little off the shot to become more accurate and take that chance better than maybe just bombing away at it. … If you get it on target, maybe something good will happen, maybe the keeper will drop it or something like that.”The “shooting on target” mantra has worked so far, but more importantly, it’s worked when it mattered most. Five of Lorenz’s goals have either won or tied the game; he leads the team with three game-winners and is tied for first with two equalizers. With as much trouble as the Badgers have had offensively at times this season, Lorenz’s performances in the clutch have not gone unappreciated.“It’s been great for us,” Rohrman said of Lorenz’s timely scoring. “It’s nice in tight games and against good opposition when you have players step up and accept that responsibility, to take it on and make something happen.”Lorenz’s success comes as no surprise to Rohrman. Lorenz has the size and speed to complement his good sense for the game.“The things Scotty brings that make him one of the more dangerous players, is he’s able to convert things with his feet, with his head,” Rohrman said. “He’s got great agility, balance and athleticism that allows him to free himself up to get … into positions to score.”As Rohrman said, it’s certainly helped that Lorenz is supported by players like recent Big Ten player of the week Victor Diaz and former midfielder Brandon Miller, who joined Lorenz in the top 10 in conference scoring after moving to forward. And despite the individual success he’s had, Lorenz is the first to defer credit to his teammates.“I think they really balance me well and let me get in the right position to score,” Lorenz said. “It’s not so much me doing a lot of individual work as it is the team doing it and me being in the right spots. It’s really [something to] attribute to the rest of the team.”Rohrman believes Lorenz’s other strengths are things that aren’t reflected in box scores or leader boards.“The thing I appreciate as much as the other stuff is how he works and pressures on the defensive side,” Rohrman said. “That’s something that maybe goes unnoticed, and in a lot of ways, doesn’t get the recognition that goals and assists do. But nonetheless, it’s an important part of any team. When you have attacking players that are willing to do that stuff, it makes everyone else’s job easier.”Rohrman believes Lorenz’s competitive nature is the reason for his work on both sides of the ball. Lorenz places some of the blame on his time as a defender for putting the defensive aspect of forward into perspective.“[After] playing defense last year, playing offense, you don’t understand how much it helps the defense when you can put pressure on the ball and force turnovers in your offensive half,” Lorenz said.With the Big Ten Tournament looming, Lorenz is going to have to continue to perform if the Badgers are to find any success. Regardless of whether he’s putting the ball in the net or trying to lighten the load for his defense, Lorenz is going to be counted on to provide a spark for the team. To Rohrman, there’s no question that all the factors to make a difference are there.“I just think he’s an extremely competitive kid,” Rohrman said, “and is willing to do whatever it takes and work his tail off to get the results.”last_img read more